Sunday, June 04, 2006

Doggerel #11: "You're Just an Anonymous Commenter!"

Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

This is one of the most transparent attempts at a subject change. I'm surprised that anyone falls for it. When a person makes an argument, he is irrelevant to the argument. If my opponent is, for instance, being evasive about a certain point, my online name isn't going to change his evasiveness. It's a red herring and a non-sequitur combined. It doesn't matter if I'm Hitler behind a mask, a corporate shill, or whatever. My identity or lack thereof isn't going to change the failures of my opponent into successes.

I'm not being cowardly when I'm anonymous: I'm limiting my opponent's potential for genetic fallacies. He's only got one that he knows for sure, which is my anonymity. Additionally, since much of America (particularly my chunk of the south) is ultra-religious, and willing to burn the Constitution, I'd rather not have my free speech connected to my real name. I'm sure there are plenty of bosses out there that wouldn't hesitate to fire someone for being an atheist, First Amendment be damned. If I were cowardly, I wouldn't be expressing any thoughts at all. I just don't see the reason to recklessly throw out my real name for hackers, identity thieves, and local meatspace bigots to use. Discretion is the better part of valor.

Those who employ this doggerel are the cowards, however: They're trying to use suspicion and innuendo to take the focus away from the argument and onto an irrelevant triviality: the arguer. Again, if I point out the invalidities of their arguments, my anonymity isn't going to make them magically vanish.


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